Since its launch in 1989, the Blancpain flying tourbillon, produced in-house as are all Blancpain movements, has been an integral part of the traditional watch-making scene for nearly three decades. This year, the Manufacture is incorporating two new complications, jump hours and retrograde minutes, to the series and presents the Villeret Tourbillon Volant Heure Sautante Minute Rétrograde model.
Presented at Baselworld watch fair in 2018, this new timepiece stands out with the remarkable construction of flying tourbillon and the elegant grand feu enamel dial handcrafted in house.
The construction style employed in Blancpain flying tourbillon watches offers an unsurpassed view of the tourbillon’s key components, unobstructed by the upper bridge featured in conventional tourbillon designs. In the new Villeret Tourbillon Volant Heure Sautante Minute Rétrograde, the lower bridge has been removed and replaced by a clear sapphire disk. The tourbillon cage, its balance wheel and its escapement seem to be floating in space above the tourbillon’s fixed wheel attached to the clear disk.
Neither the jump hour nor retrograde minute complications have appeared in Blancpain wristwatches, thus this new timepiece marks their debut within Blancpain’s collections. These hours and minutes displays are grouped together, with the hours window placed on the retrograde minutes counter.
In the Blancpain Le Brassus Métiers d’Art studio, the Manufacture has devoted its technical expertise to the cause of aesthetics in creating a classic grand feu enamel dial using the traditional champlevé technique.
The artisans begin by hollowing out the solid gold base of the dial to create small compartments. Thereafter, several layers of enamel are each hand painted onto the dial and fired at a temperature of around 800 degrees Celsius. Adding diamond-polished gold rings around the hours window as well as the tourbillon porthole lends a further sophisticated touch, before the minutes counter is applied to the dial, creating an intriguing depth effect.
Further, the movement bridges are adorned with a hand-guilloché pattern. Through the transparent sapphire case back, the wearer can also enjoy the view of the ratchet-wheel featuring Blancpain’s famous beveled wheel-rim design, as well as consulting the power reserve indicated by a guilloché disk.
The new Villeret Tourbillon Volant Heure Sautante Minute Rétrograde features a double stepped 42 mm red gold case. The watch comes fitted with an alligator strap or metal bracelet, both secured by a folding clasp. A 20-piece platinum limited-edition version is also available.